With Thanksgiving now behind us, churches across the country turn their attention to the Christmas season—transforming their church spaces into a wonderland of shining Christmas lights, shimmering garland, and colorful poinsettias. But setting up these delightful decorations can be fraught with danger for your church staff and volunteers. To help keep you all safe this holiday season, here are some tips on how to safely setup your Christmas decorations this season.
In this Thanksgiving season, we'd like to extend our sincere gratitude to the 2017 Alignment Conference Partners, who helped make this year's event possible. Please take some time to review this year's roster of partners who play vital roles in supporting our clients throughout the year.
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30). At Aspen Group, we have much to be thankful this year. We’re grateful to be fulfilling our mission—creating space for ministry impact—with a variety of churches in Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and beyond.
I was present at the beginning of this era of multisite ministry. It was an accident; I was just fortunate enough to work at Leadership Network at a time when we were making a list of and tracking the early practitioners of multisite. After a meeting with a church in 1997 that had already gone multisite, my team and I looked at each other and said, “ This is going to be big.” We then saw a cadre of churches doing similar things across various geographic areas and denominational backgrounds. What began as a list of 78 in the ‘90s has grown to more than 8,000, according to a Duke University survey. I believe we are still in the early chapters of this story. There has been a rapid replication of sites and systems to fit the current context, but we are a long way from seeing the totality of this movement. Drawing from the research within this report and my experience, here are some trends I have observed during the rise of expansion strategies, as well as a few shifts I think we have yet to see unfold:
If you are a pastor or church leader, you will inevitably encounter challenges in your ministry. It's tempting to think that it's our circumstances that create our greatest challenges. According to Pastor Mark Jobe, however, this is a myth: “If you are a leader in any capacity, in your church, in a ministry, your greatest challenge is not a lack of resources. If you grow enough, you’ll learn how to raise those resources. Your greatest challenge is not leaders, because if you grow enough, you’ll learn how to attract leaders. Your greatest challenge is not immaturity, because if you grow enough, you’ll learn how to lead people to maturity. Your greatest challenge is not the neighborhood you’re in or the changing demographics, because if you grow enough, you’ll find solutions to reach those changing demographics. Your greatest challenge is you.”
The Time Was Right Central Christian Church was booming. With a strong presence in Carmel, Indiana, a thriving suburb of Indianapolis, attendance was nearing 600. The facility was designed to house 300-400 people. As space grew tighter, it became increasingly clear that the outdated facility no longer matched the needs of the young families, children, and youth that Central Christian was attracting. It was time to make a move. In 2001, however, Central Christian had purchased an 82-acre parcel of land in Westfield, Indiana, to prepare for future growth. The church began making plans for a new building on this site in 2004-2006. Budget constraints and other stressors thwarted their plans, however, and the church suffered severe losses within the staff and congregation.
What do we do when we run out of space? How do we answer God’s call to plant another church or campus site? Where will we find the resources we need to launch a new church? How do we train leaders and raise funds? How do we engage Millennials? Is it even the right time to start thinking about planting a new church? As a church leader, you may find yourself asking these same questions. Weren’t able to make it to Aspen’s 2017 Alignment Conference? Here’s a quick recap of the main stage keynote talks.
Proper signage and branding are critical to a positive experience at church, especially for newcomers or first-time visitors. Think about it. How could we possibly navigate a large airport or hospital without relying completely on the signs around us? It would be a terrible experience.
For those of us living in the Southeast, the dire predictions of Hurricane Irma’s path up the coast this fall posed an ominous threat. Many of us, myself included, had barely recovered from last year’s hit by Hurricane Matthew. Nonetheless, we prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. Thankfully, we dodged a bullet with Irma. Houston, sadly, was not as fortunate with Hurricane Harvey. Ongoing efforts to clean up after the ravages of that massive storm continue. Watching these events unfold this hurricane season, I’ve wondered what the best counsel is for churches in the aftermath of a hurricane.
Whether you're considering the launch of your first multisite campus, thinking about planting your tenth church, or exploring the relocation of your existing church space, you must think strategically about that expansion process. The two guests on this fifth and final episode of the Alignment Conference Podcast know that reality all too well. For nearly three years, Bob Gray, project developer at Aspen Group, and Graham Richards, senior pastor at Thrive Christian Church, worked alongside each other exploring new growth opportunities within the church. And this past summer, all that work came to fruition with the opening of Thrive's new site in Westfield, Indiana. In this episode, Bob and Graham reflect back on that process, discussing the questions they worked through, including: How do you know when it’s time to make a change, and, what kind of change should be made? On October 17, Thrive Christian Church will host the 2017 Alignment Conference, giving church leaders a chance to see firsthand the impact that a new, strategically-designed space can have for a church. Listen to this podcast, and you'll be well prepared for this year's event.